Collective Knowledge Building

I am writing a paper for my M.Ed at the moment on the collective in the classroom.  My basic idea is that the collective (your classroom for example) should be taught as a group, not a group of individuals.  Drawing on metaphors from complexity science and systems thinking, I am trying to make the case that what is good for the collective, is good for individual.

Once the paper is finished I will post it here and you can attack it like carnivorous dinosaurs. ;)

I designed this activity to try and tap the collective intelligence.  This is my summative assessment for our Forces and Motions unit.  Afterwards, we debriefed about the activity, and each student agreed that the answers they created as a group were far beyond what each of them could do as an individual.    The Collective is more Intelligent than the sum of its parts.



  1. The collective might produce a better product as a result of their combined and collaborative thinking, but that doesn't mean that your class 'should be taught as a group, not a group of individuals'. Everyone has different needs and interests. Don't we need to provide opportunities for everyone to learn in the way that's best for them?

  2. Absolutely. The collective is made of a group of individuals and each part of the system needs to be looked after and fostered. A collective cannot learn without the individual, and the individual cannot learn without the collective. What I am suggesting is that there is no dichotomy between the two. They are one and the same, and the activities we provide should encourage both.

    Great question!

  3. Ritu Chopra29.3.12

    Sounds interesting! Awaiting to see your paper.

  4. Bodong3.4.12

    Interesting work. Have you read Scardamalia and Bereiter's work on collaborative knowledge building?

  5. No I have no, but I will be sure to check it out! Thanks!


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